Communicative Modelling of Cultural Transmission and Evolution Through a Holographic Cognition Model

  • Ambjörn Naeve Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Keywords: Communicative Modelling, Culture as Process, Difference That Makes a Difference, SECI Theory of Knowledge Creation, Learn-Err Model, Unified Theory of Information, Cognition, Communication, Cooperation


This article presents communicative ways to model the transmission and evolution of the processes and artefacts of a culture as the result of ongoing interactions between its members - both at the tacit and the explicit level. The purpose is not to model the entire cultural process, but to provide semantically rich “conceptual placeholders” for modelling any cultural activity that is considered important enough within a certain context. The general purpose of communicative modelling is to create models that improve the quality of communication between people. In order to capture the subjective aspects of Gregory Bateson’s definition of information as “a difference that makes a difference,” the article introduces a Holographic Cognition Model that uses optical holography as an analogy for human cognition, with the object beam of holography corresponding to the first difference (the situation that the cognitive agent encounters), and the reference beam of holography corresponding to the subjective experiences and biases that the agent brings to the situation, and which makes the second difference (the interference/interpretation pattern) unique for each agent. By combining the HCM with a semantically rich and recursive form of process modelling, based on the SECI-theory of knowledge creation, we arrive at way to model the cultural transmission and evolution process that is consistent with the Unified Theory of Information (the Triple-C model) with its emphasis on intra-, inter- and supra-actions.

Author Biography

Ambjörn Naeve, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Head of the Knowledge Management Research Group, School of Computer Science and Communication

Special Issue: The Difference that Makes a Difference 2011